Coronavirus: Store Shelves Empty as Panic Buying Hits Italy

Infected victims jump from 3 to 165 in just a few days.

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People in several regions of Italy have reacted to coronavirus spreading throughout the country by panic buying, leaving some store shelves empty.

With 165 people infected, Italy has the most coronavirus victims out of any country in Europe. Five people have died.

Footage out of Milan shot yesterday shows some products almost or entirely out of stock.

Some residents flippantly likened the situation to a “zombie apocalypse.”

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Lock downs are in place in the regions of Lombardy and Veneto, with 50,000 people being unable to leave without special permission.

Numerous museums, cinemas, bars, businesses and schools have also shut down and sporting activities have been suspended.

The Venice Carnival was also cancelled, while designer Giorgio Armani streamed his Milan Fashion Week event from an empty theater.

The panic is largely being driven by the speed at which coronavirus cases in Italy jumped from just 3 on Thursday to over 150 by the end of the weekend.

COVID-19 Monday morning news

By Dr. John Campbell – 2/24/2020

You can’t call a pandemic if the word doesn’t exist in the WHO vocabulary as of today.

The WHO has no credibility. It’s just a mouthpiece of the governments that fund it. They want to avoid financial collapse at all cost so of course the WHO downplays threats. Follow the money. Right now they are just buying time before everything goes to shit. Intelligent people should prepare accordingly.

 

Room to room

By Dr. John Campbell – 2/21/2020

My son is in South Korea with the US Army at a base in Daegu. He said the generals are taking this very seriously. Thank you for the updates. It’s lack of information that causes fear for some of us.

 

WHO Chief Warns “Window Of Opportunity Is Narrowing” As Coronavirus Spreads To Lebanon, Iran & Israel; China Orders Millions Back To Work

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Update (1130ET): Epidemiologist had already warned that patients could be reinfected with the virus. But the Epoch Times’ Jennifer Zeng is sharing a report about a patient in Sichuan (notably one of the provinces visited by WHO experts) who was reinfected with the virus after recovering.

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UPI reported earlier that everal patients in China who were discharged from hospitals after making a full recovery have been reinfected, citing reports in the People’s Daily on Friday.

One patient in Chengdu was discharged from a local hospital and was quarantined for 14 days at home, but somehow became reinfected. And doctors quoted in the story said her case isn’t unique.

It’s also possible to catch the flu twice in one season, but that is rare.

* * *

Update (1100ET): Epoch Times’ Jennifer Zeng is reporting that in parts of China, the government has signaled to workers that they will be “punished” if they don’t report back to work.

And for everyone who gets infected, don’t expect your employer to deal with it, Zeng adds. “if you get infected, it is not a work-related injury. You are on your own.”

That’s pretty chilling stuff, but as we pointed out yesterday, there’s an ongoing debate in parts of the country where case numbers aren’t as high (not that anybody trusts the government’s figures) about whether keeping the economy on lockdown might be doing more harm then good. And in order to prevent a repeat of what happened last time (when millions just simply didn’t show up), it’s upping the ante for citizens who don’t abide by the state’s command.

The New York Times is reporting that, for the first time since the outbreak began, Chinese health officials acknowledged on Friday that their constant changes to the ‘criteria’ for what constitutes a ‘confirmed case’ have sown confusion and mistrust.

As we have assiduously reported, officials in Hubei have revised their case tallies three times now because of these shifting definitions.

in the province hardest hit by the coronavirus acknowledged for the first time on Friday that their methods of confirming and reporting infection numbers had sown confusion and mistrust. They added that they would no longer subtract cases from the total. The message comes just hours after state media reported new breakouts in a handful of Chinese prisons.

Moving over to the WHO’s daily press conference from Switzerland, Director-General Dr. Tedros commented on the new cases and deaths reported in Iran, as well as Lebanon, which reported its first case this morning though hasn’t yet recorded a death.

Dr. Tedros said the new wave of outbreaks suggests that the world is at a “tipping point.”

“The window of opportunity is narrowing,” Dr. Tedros said, and humanity is running out of time to stop this virus before things get much, much worse.

You know, just some reassuring words to kick off the weekend with a little levity.

We’re starting to suspect that Dr. Tedros may have recently purchased some out-of-the-money S&P puts.

Seemingly responding to the growing number of ‘armchair cranks’ and ‘conspiracy theorists’ questioning why a WHO team of experts – a team that includes two Americans – hasn’t yet traveled to Wuhan, Dr. Tedros added that the team is planning to travel to the epicenter of the outbreak on Saturday.

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So far, the team has traveled to Beijing, Sichuan and Guangdong provinces.

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Update (1000ET): Check this out.

The NYT has published an interesting interactive illustrating the huge drop in flights departing from China to the US and other major economies.

The disappearance of tens of thousands of flights leaving China shows “how the coronavirus has hobbled a nation,” the NYT said.

Jan. 23:

Feb. 13:

Put another way:

As the NYT reports, Oxford Economics said in a recent report that the outbreak could wipe $1.1 trillion from global output, which kind of undercuts Larry Kudlow’s stammering on CNBC about this not being a ‘US story’: It’s difficult to imagine a scenario where the US economy would walk away unaffected by this.

See it here.

In other news, Beijing continues to push the ‘everything’s fine; we’re winning’ narrative.

Update (0725ET): Lebanon has confirmed its first case of COVID-9.

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The tiny Levantine state, which has swollen with refugees from nearby Syria in recent years, is in the middle of an economic crisis, and its government is presently weighing whether to default on an upcoming loan payment, which could lead to deeply unpopular austerity measures, as Al Jazeera reports.

Earlier, Israel’s Health Ministry confirmed that an Israeli citizen contracted the virus while aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship (1 of 11 Israeli passengers). She is currently under supervision and isolation in Israel. All 11 were flown out of Japan and sent directly Friday into isolation at Sheba Tel Hashomer Hospital, where they will remain during a 2-week quarantine period. Earlier this week, Israel’s government announced a temporary travel ban on all foreign nationals who had traveled to Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macao during the past 2 weeks.

Following reports yesterday that two Beijing hospitals had been put under quarantine amid fears of a wider outbreak, WaPo reported that one district in Beijing has been found to have an “infection density” second only to Wuhan on mainland China. This has served to further intensify concerns about what might happen when millions of Chinese return to work next week.

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When historians look back at the COVID-19 outbreak, they’ll remember this week as an important turning point in the crisis, when international public-health experts and investors started to focus their attention on South Korea, Japan and other countries in the region that have seen the number of new cases accelerate markedly in recent days.

Put another way, evidence that the virus is spreading more rapidly within other Asian countries outside mainland China has become impossible to ignorewhich is probably why US futures are pointing to a lower open for a second straight day.

As Bloomberg reminds us, South Korea has seen its total cases soar past 200 as the number of infections doubled in 24 hours.

Meanwhile, cases in Singapore and Japan have topped 85, and let’s not forget the 600+ from the ‘Diamond Princess’ who have been excluded from the ‘Japan’ total.

At least as far as deaths are concerned, the numbers outside of China remain small: out of 2,247 deaths, only 13 have occurred in other regions (this includes 2 more deaths in Iran announced just minutes ago).

But there’s no getting around it: the spread of the virus will undoubtedly worsen the economic blowback, as one economist explained to BBG.

“The sudden jump in infections in other parts of Asia, notably in Japan and South Korea, has sparked renewed concerns,” said Khoon Goh, Singapore-based head of Asia research at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.

“This points to a new phase in the outbreak, and one which will see continued disruption and more economic impact than previously thought.”

Last night, we reported on the latest case numbers out of South Korea, and more have already been recorded. The current total is 204. Earlier this month, the WHO said China’s approach to tackling the virus should be a “model” for other governments facing similar outbreaks. At the time, experts criticized the organization for appearing to parrot Chinese propaganda. But it looks like they might have been on to something. Because as we reported late last night, the Blue House has ordered a ‘special management zones’ in the cities of Daegu and Cheongdo, or what appears to be a kind of ‘soft’ quarantine. The government said that since they’ve failed to prevent an outbreak, they’re pivoting decidedly to a strategy of containment.

Just a few hours ago, Chinese state media reported that 500 cases – roughly half of the new cases reported in China on Friday – involved prisoners at a handful of jails across the country, according to the Washington Post.

Infections have been confirmed at five prisons in Shandong, Hubei and Zhejiang, according to China’s Ministry of Justice. A prison in eastern Shandong province showed 207 out of 2,077 inmates and staff were infected, and the provincial justice department’s Communist Party secretary was dismissed as a result, the province announced. Another jail in Zhejiang province found 34 cases. Hubei province, at the center of the outbreak, said Friday it found 220 new cases inside penitentiaries.

According to the Washington Post, the prison outbreaks underscore the virus’s easy transmissibility in confined spaces.

Even the Global Times acknowledged that the prison outbreaks have “weakened” Beijing’s claims that the virus is receding…

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…Even as local officials adopt ever-more bizarre and draconian restrictions on individual movement.

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Tests at a prison in eastern Shandong province showed 207 out of 2,077 inmates and staff were infected, and the provincial justice department’s Communist Party secretary was dismissed as a result, the province announced. Another jail in Zhejiang province found 34 cases. Hubei province, at the center of the outbreak, said Friday it found 220 new cases inside penitentiaries.

The prison outbreaks underscored the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s high transmissibility in confined spaces after the disease ravaged the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan.

While overall numbers remain low, thousands who fear they may have come into contact with a ‘super-spreader’ in Daegu, a city of 2.5 million about 2 hours south of Seoul. The woman, who believed she was suffering from a simple cold because she had not traveled abroad, reportedly attended four church services at a “cult-like” church with 1,100 members in the city, as well as branches in other cities, including Seoul, where the mayor has ordered the local church closed until further notice.

Communist Party leaders made yet another public misstep overnight when health officials said they would once again change their ‘criteria’ for what constitutes a ‘confirmed’ case of COVID-19 back to the more inclusive and accurate definition. Officials said they decided on the switch because they couldn’t subtract already confirmed cases from the total, which sounds…almost plausible.

On CNBC Friday morning, Eunice Yoon, the network’s reporter on the ground in Beijing, interviewed the owner of a Beijing restaurant discussing his fears about going out of business. But as China slouches back to work, millions are worried that Beijing might sacrifice the public welfare to get a few factories up and running.

Looks like the cat’s out of the bag: North Korea has cancelled the Pyongyang Marathon, the country’s largest tourism money-maker, because of COVID-19, according to the operators of several tour companies who spoke with AFP.

Beijing-based Koryo Tours, the official partner of the marathon, said on its website it had “received official confirmation today that the Pyongyang Marathon 2020 is cancelled”.

“This is due to the ongoing closure of the North Korean border and COVID-19 virus situation in China and the greater region,” it added.

North Korean officials have vehemently denied reports that the virus had crossed the Yalu River, evening becoming enraged at the US in response to an offer of assistance from the State Department. Recently, a WHO official said there are “no indications” that the virus has arrived in North Korea, but considering that we’re talking about North Korea, that’s hardly surprising.

As the lockdowns in Beijing, Tianjin and other cities intensified over the last week, more Chinese were subjected to displays like this:

On Friday, Japanese health officials and Carnival Japan will release the last batch of passengers and crew from their 14-day quarantine aboard the ‘Diamond Princess’ despite criticisms from the CDC that Japanese officials had failed to maintain the quarantine. Right now, infectious disease experts see Japan as one of the riskiest places outside China, according to BBG. Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said on Sunday that Japan had lost track of the route of some of the infection cases, which have tripled in the past week to more than 90.

Iran just confirmed 13 more cases and 2 new deaths, mostly in Qoms, the same city where some earlier cases had been detected, while also reporting that the virus has reached Tehran, according to Reuters. So far, seven Iranians have been diagnosed in Qom, four in Tehran and two in Gilan, according to a tweet from the Iranian health ministry. Iranian officials have acknowledged the possibility that the virus might have arrived in every major Iranian city.

Even in Korea, health officials say they their investigators can’t figure out how some of the outbreaks started. That’s not exactly reassuring.

Right now, the focus is on South Korea. Last week, it briefly shifted to the UK before moving on to Japan. Italy just reported another three cases, doubling its count from 3 to six. Will they be next? Maybe Africa?

CHINA CURBS TRAVEL TO HONG KONG AS PROJECTIONS SHOW 300,000 MIGHT ALREADY BE INFECTED

China Curbs Travel To Hong Kong As Projections Show 300,000 Might Already Be Infected

Top health officials share grim statistics

Zero Hedge – JANUARY 28, 2020

On Tuesday morning, China’s top health officials shared some grim statistics essentially confirming that the novel coronavirus believed to have emerged from a shady food market in Wuhan is on track to confirm some of the more dire projections shared by epidemiologists.

As we reported late yesterday, the death toll in China has soared past 100 while the number of confirmed cases doubled overnight. Health officials around the world have confirmed more than 4,500 cases, more than triple the number from Friday. All but a few of the deaths recorded so far have been in Wuhan or the surrounding Hubei province, per the SCMP.

Panic has swept across the region as border closures appear to be the overarching theme of Tuesday’s sessions. Even North Korea, which relies on China for 90% of its foreign trade, has closed the border with its patron. More than 50 million remain on lockdown in Hubei, and transit restrictions have been imposed by cities and regions around the country.

CORONA

An ‘extension’ of the Lunar New Year holiday is threatening GDP growth, as economists try to size up the knock-on potential impact on the global economy. The virus has now spread across China and another 17 countries/autonomous territories globally, according to BBG.

But the most important announcement made overnight – at least as far as global markets are concerned – was Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s decision to suspend high-speed rail and ferry service, while halving the number of flights between HK and the mainland.

This news helped send US stock futures higher in early trade, after health experts yesterday urged Lam to use ‘draconian’ measures to curb the spread, for fear of a repeat of the SARS epidemic, which killed some 300 people, according to the BBC.

“The flow of people between the two places needs to be drastically reduced” amid the outbreak, Ms Lam told the South China Morning Post.

China, meanwhile, said it would stop individuals from traveling to Hong Kong to try and curb the virus.

Jiao Yahui, deputy head of the NHC’s medical administration bureau, said during a press conference Tuesday that shortages of medical supplies in Wuhan were still a serious problem.

CDC has issued new travel recommendations urging people to avoid all non-essential trips. But officials remained reluctant to declare a global emergency, instead insisting that this is merely an emergency “in China”. Of course, after yesterday’s brutal pullback, that’s to be expected.

The big piece of evidence that the WHO is purportedly looking for is human-to-human transmission outside China. Zhong Nanshan, a leading expert on SARS and other communicable diseases in China, confirmed human-to-human transmission in at least one case in Wuhan and two cases in Guangdong Province.

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Meanwhile, as we noted yesterday, one case of possible human-to-human transmission is being investigated in Canada, while Vietnam and Japan have now each confirmed one cases.

Japan revealed on Tuesday that a bus driver in his 60s, who recently carried passengers from Wuhan, has been found to have the virus.

During a meeting in Beijing, President Xi told World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that the safety of the people is his government’s first priority, and that he recognizes the situation is “very serious.”

“This was supposed to be a time for rest, but because of the pneumonia outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus, the Chinese people right now are faced with a very serious battle,” Xi said. “This is something we take very seriously because in our view nothing matters more than people’s safety and health. That is why I myself have been personally deploying, planning, and guiding all the efforts related to containment and mitigation of the outbreak.”

That’s ironic, considering Beijing’s sluggish response after the first cases were discovered in December. After all, Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang on Tuesday spoke out against the deluge of criticism he has faced to accuse Beijing of tying his hands. This comes after President Xi and the party tried to scapegoat him and other local party officials for the crisis.

This was supposed to be a time for rest, but because of the pneumonia outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus, the Chinese people right now are faced with a very serious battle,” Chinese President Xi Jinping tells in Beijing.

Speaking at a press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, Jiao Yahui, deputy head of the NHC’s medical administration bureau, said shortage of medical supplies was a major constraint in China’s efforts to contain the outbreak and treat infected people.

Tens of thousands of patients are under observation in China after displaying one or more symptoms of the virus. In the US, roughly 100 people are in isolation. But former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC that China is obscuring the true number of cases – a suspicion that’s widely held among American infectous-disease experts.

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According to some projections, there might be up to 300,000 cases in China, and there are likely dozens of people who have died of pneumonia who in reality died from nCoV – but those deaths will never be recorded. Although China is “behaving better” than it did during the SARS outbreak, they’re still concealing information from the international community.

“They’re still not behaving well. They’re concealing information, including the spread to health care workers, which we didn’t know until last week” Gottlieb said.

China is already in a “full-blown epidemic.” The US will likely face some limited outbreaks, but Gottlieb said we have the tools to suppress the virus and prevent the same thing from happening in the US.

Jiao said China was sending about 6,000 medical personnel to Hubei from around the country – with more than 4,000 already there and 1,800 more due to arrive by Tuesday evening – to work in Wuhan and seven other cities in the province.

In Wuhan, more than 10,000 hospital beds have been made available for patients, he said, while another 100,000 are being prepared.

In Beijing, CNBC’s Eunice Yoon reported that the local government is strongly encouraging the wearing of facemasks in public.

Police guarding Beijing’s public transit are wearing full hazmat suits, and anybody hoping to board a train must be wearing a mask, and must submit to a temperature check via infrared thermometer. If an individual is found to have a fever, they’re sent to a hospital to be quarantined.

As Beijing tries to telegraph to the world that it has the situation under control, health experts have raised new questions about the government’s response. One infectious disease specialist told the NYT that they were skeptical about the Wuhan quarantine’s ability contain the virus (unsurprising considering that 5 million left the city before the lockdown began).

Beijing and Guangzhou, a port city northwest of Hong Kong, have broken ground on new hospitals, mimicking the speedy construction of not one but two new hospitals in Wuhan to treat patients infected with the virus.

Beijing is also reopening a hospital used to fight the SARS outbreak in 2003, while 6,000 medical staff have been sent to Hubei.

“At this stage of the outbreak, the things that make the most difference are finding people, diagnosing people, and getting them isolated,” said Dr. Tom Inglesby, an infectious diseases specialist and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

“If you isolate the city, then my question and my concern is that you’re making it harder in a number of ways to do those things you need to do,” including ferrying critical supplies and ensuring that infected victims receive adequate treatment.

 

GOOD NEWS: John Bolton’s Firing Leads to Mass Globalist Exodus From Trump Administration

They’re dropping like flies!

By Shane Trejo

The forced resignation of neoconservative warmonger John Bolton from the Trump administration has caused a mass exodus of globalists who have resigned in protest.

Garrett Marquis and Sarah Tinsley, who formerly worked as the National Security Council’s press operation as senior directors for strategic communications, and Christine Samuelian, who was Bolton’s personal assistant, have chosen to leave the White House staff as a result of President Trump’s decision.

“It was an honor to serve my country, and I wish the president and the administration success moving forward,” Marquis said on Wednesday

Marquis was connected to Bolton for years, working as his spokesman when Bolton had a job at the public affairs firm Prism Group. Samuelian was Bolton’s long-time assistant, having worked with the mustachioed warmonger for many years. Tinsley formerly worked for the Foundation for American Security and Freedom (FASF), a not-for-profit entity founded by Bolton to encourage a more hawkish foreign policy.

“America needs more robust and effective involvement in international affairs to keep our allies close and further our national security interests,” Bolton said in a press release when FASF was established in 2015.

“This new foundation will provide the necessary platform, resources, and leadership to demonstrate to the world that we will recognize American exceptionalism not only in rhetoric, but also in deeds,” he added.

After Bolton left the administration, President Trump made sure to kick him while the man was down, and further discredit his neocon globalist outlook on foreign affairs.

“So, John is somebody that I actually got along with very well. He made some very big mistakes,” Trump said following Bolton’s firing last week.

“As soon as he mentioned that, the Libyan model, what a disaster. Take a look at what happened to Gadhafi,” Trump elaborated about Bolton’s incompetence. “I don’t blame Kim Jong Un for what he said after that. And he wanted nothing to do with John Bolton. And that’s not a question of being tough. That’s a question of being not smart to say something like that.”

“John wasn’t in line with what we were doing and actually in some cases he thought it was too tough what we were doing. Mr. Tough Guy, you know, you had to go into Iraq. Going into Iraq was something he felt very strongly about,” Trump added.

It may be the dawning of a new era within the Trump administration, as the Bush-era neocons are losing the battle to influence President Trump into adopting the failed foreign policy of past globalist presidential administrations.

(GLOBALIST AT WORK) – Mitt Romney: Putin, Kim Deserve ‘Censure,’ Not ‘Flattery’

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) walks through the U.S. Capitol prior to the Senate voting to overturn the President's national emergency border declaration, at the U.S. Capitol on March 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. 12 Republicans joined Democrats in voting against President Trumps emergency declaration. (Photo …

By Joshua Caplan

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) on Monday took a veiled swipe at President Donald Trump’s diplomatic approach to Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, arguing they “deserve a censure rather than flattery,” reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

Romney, an outspoken critic of the administration, jabbed the president without naming him in a prepared speech at an event held by the Sutherland Institute, a right-of-center think tank based in Salt Lake City.

“I think demonstrating personal character is one of the most important responsibilities of a leader of the land,” the Utah Republican continued. In an attempt to denuclearize a belligerent North Korea, President Trump has participated in two summits with Kim and exchanged several letters. The president also met with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, in a bid to repair ties left in tatters by the Obama administration.

Romney, who was soundly defeated by President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election, has heavily criticized President Trump — most notably during the 2016 election, describing him as a  “con man,” and a “fake.” However, in a show of unity, president-elect Trump put aside Romney’s criticism and interviewed him for the position of Secretary of State, a job which ultimately went to former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson.

During the 2018 midterm election, President Trump endorsed Romney, which the then-senate candidate gladly accepted. Just when the pair’s relationship appeared to be on the mend, Romney once again attacked President Trump with a Washington Post opinion-editorial published two days before he was sworn into office. The Utah Republican recently slammed President Trump for suggesting he may be open to receiving opposition research on his political opponents from foreign governments, calling the idea “unthinkable.” Days later, the president rejected the hypothetical scenario, saying he would alert federal authorities if his campaign was approached.

Later in his speech before the think tank, Romney criticized far-left proposals such as the Green New Deal and “Medicare for All,” advocated by several 2020 White House hopefuls.

At one point, Romney also conceded his “slice of Republican Party these days is about that big,” placing his hands closely together, before claiming he is not “100 percent sold on everything my current party’s establishment is doing.”

“I am aligned with the Republican conservative philosophy and believe that our Democratic friends are taking us in a very different direction, which would be most unfortunate to our future,” said the lawmaker.

 

Jimmy Carter Claims Donald Trump an Illegitimate President

AP Photo

By Joshua Caplan

Former President Jimmy Carter suggested Friday that President Trump’s victory in 2016 was illegitimate due to Russian interference in the election.

During a panel discussion on human rights issues at the Carter Center conference, the former president contended that a proper investigation into the extent of Russian meddling would, in fact, reveal President Trump did not win the White House.

“The president himself should condemn it,” Carter said when asked how the administration should deal with alleged election meddling. “Admit that it happened, which 16 intelligence agencies have already agreed to say.”

“There’s no doubt the Russians did interfere in the election and I think the interference, although not yet quantified, if fully investigated, will show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016.”

“He lost the election and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf,” he added.

Carter was then asked if he believed President Trump illegitimately occupied the White House, he replied: “Based on what I said, which I can’t retract.”

Despite the two presidents’ policy differences, President Trump and Carter have shared a cordial relationship. Carter recently stated Trump was correct to not launch a military strike against Iran after a U.S. drone was shot down by the regime. The pair have previously discussed foreign policy issues such as North Korean denuclearization and trade with China.

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